Personal Devices Create a Dilemma for Corporate IT - Page 5

By Stan Gibson  |  Posted 2008-01-12 Print this article Print

Plenty could change on the application development front if Android takes hold as an industry-standard platform. With a single development platform, a company could create a single corporate application for a range of devices-not only similar devices from different vendors but also devices with a variety of capabilities corresponding to individual users' needs.

A wild card on the development front is the expected emergence of an Apple SDK for the iPhone in February. Such an SDK could spur interest in the iPhone as a rival application platform. "We've had requests about the iPhone. I want [Steve] Jobs to release the SDK," said Israel.

And with product lines from all vendors being refreshed at frequent intervals-a new iPhone is expected this summer, for example-no corporate mobile computing standard will be forever cast in stone.

What also remains to be seen is how corporate users respond to the "corporatization" of their personal devices.

Just as the PC evolved from an independent machine to a component of corporate IT infrastructures, multifunction mobile devices are increasingly being bound by organizational tethers. While the productivity applications and security support that comes with tighter control will probably be welcome by most users, the individual character of the devices and the tendency of users to employ corporate devices for personal purposes is in jeopardy.

"I think there could be a lot of tension until the product space reaches maturity and virtually all products come out of the box with a full feature set, and there are fewer options and accessories to choose from," said Jaffe.

One thing is certain: As long as business workers are on the road, the line between business and personal time will be blurred-and the push-pull between business and personal use of mobile devices will continue. The challenge for IT is to find the balance among application support, security and manageability that businesses require, while letting users feel a sense of connection with and ownership of their own devices so that they use them to full advantage.

Stan Gibson is Executive Editor of eWEEK. In addition to taking part in Ziff Davis eSeminars and taking charge of special editorial projects, his columns and editorials appear regularly in both the print and online editions of eWEEK. He is chairman of eWEEK's Editorial Board, which received the 1999 Jesse H. Neal Award of the American Business Press. In ten years at eWEEK, Gibson has served eWEEK (formerly PC Week) as Executive Editor/eBiz Strategies, Deputy News Editor, Networking Editor, Assignment Editor and Department Editor. His Webcast program, 'Take Down,' appeared on He has appeared on many radio and television programs including TechTV, CNBC, PBS, WBZ-Boston, WEVD New York and New England Cable News. Gibson has appeared as keynoter at many conferences, including CAMP Expo, Society for Information Management, and the Technology Managers Forum. A 19-year veteran covering information technology, he was previously News Editor at Communications Week and was Software Editor and Systems Editor at Computerworld.

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